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Real Facts About Eating Out

Updated on April 13, 2013

Many people dine out at restaurants or visit fast food places quite frequently. While dining out once in while is ok, doing it frequently can be detrimental to your health. Not only are the portions bigger, but you tend to eat more.

How many times have you left a restaurant feeling like you were going to explode? That’s because many restaurant chains entice you with high calorie meals with visual enticing photos on the menu. And of course there are the appetizers. How many times have you heard, "would you like to start with an appetizer?" when you are dining out.

Honestly who started this trend? Many appetizers are meals within themselves, and then were supposed to eat the main dish on top of this. When you sit down at home and have a meal do you say to yourself, "I can't eat yet I need an appetizer first". I don’t think so. That isn’t even the worse, and then you're asked when you're finished with the main course "how about desert?" Yeah sure let me just pack on another 1200 calories on top of the 1500 calories I just ate. Let me just add more fats and carbohydrates to the bunch I just consumed during the main course. No wonder obesity is becoming an epidemic in America.

Most restaurant meals have as much calories in them as a whole days worth of calories, and that’s just the meals within themselves. It seems that more and more restaurants are making their portions bigger and bigger, and on top of that they use a marketing ploy like, "for two dollars more you can add a soup and salad to your meal" Really? Do you really need to add soup and salad to the already overflowing the plate meal? I got an idea how about eating just the soup and salad. That should be enough food for anyone to eat.

Now remember its ok to go out and eat, and socialize with friends once in while, but I would not make it a habit, and there are always better choices you can make when you go out, but let's let the facts speak for themselves. I will pick a few popular casual dining chains and look into exactly what you're putting into your body when you go there. These nutrition facts are right from the websites, of these national chains. We will look at one appetizer and main dish, from each, and also well try to pick a few different types of restaurants. This is just to give you a general idea.

Loaded Skillet Chip Nachos


TGI Fridays

Loaded Skillet Chip Nachos

Calories - 1520

Total fat - 42 grams

Carbs - 112 grams

Sodium - 4100 mg

New York Chedder and Bacon Burger

Calories - 1410,

Total fat - 32 grams

Carbs - 101 grams

Sodium - 3880 mg

On The Border

Firecracker Stuffed Jalapeños with original Queso

Calories - 1910

Total fat - 135 grams

Carbs - 124 grams

Sodium - 6050 mg.

Classic Chimichanga Ground Beef w/o sauce

Calories - 1420,

Total fat - 90 grams,

Carbs - 105 grams, and

Sodium - 2440 mg.

Oriental Chicken Salad And French Onion Soup



Oriental Chicken Salad

Calories - 1390

Total fat - 98 grams

Carbs - 25 grams

Sodium - 1600 mg

French Onion Soup

Calories - 370,

Total fat - 22 grams,

Carbs - 43 grams, and

Sodium - 1450 mg

Pizza Hut

Bread Sticks With Cheese (each)

Calories - 170

Total fat - 7 grams

Carbs - 20 grams

Sodium - 400 mg

Supreme 12 inch medium pan pizza (1 slice)

Calories - 290

Total fat - 14 grams

Carbs - 27 grams

Sodium - 650 mg

Pizza Hut Supreme Pizza


Outback Steakhouse

The Bloomin Onion

Calories - 1959

Total fat - 161 grams

Carbs - 117 grams

Sodium - 4102 mg

New Zealand Rack Of Lamb

Calories - 606

Total fat - 39 grams

Carbs - 2 grams

Sodium - 1055 mg

New Zealand Rack Of Lamb



Country Omelette

Calories - 1220

Total fat - 90 grams

Carbs - 45 grams

Sodium - 2200 mg

Sirloin Tips And Eggs

Calories - 1360

Total fat - 78 grams

Carbs - 100 grams

Sodium - 3300 mg

Sirloin Tips And Eggs + Hash Browns


Now let's look at what the average adult male and female should eat per day according to experts. This does not include someone who is dieting, that’s another whole set of rules.


  • Calories - 2500
  • Fat - 80 grams
  • Carbs - 312 grams
  • Sodium - Less than 2000 mg


  • Calories - 2000
  • Fat - 65 grams
  • Carbs - 250 grams
  • Sodium - Less than 2000 mg

If you frequently eat out, these calories can add up quick. Now just to be realistic, most people share an appetizer. So you're splitting those calories with someone else. Still if you look at it, it's still a lot of calories and you're eating your main meal on top of it. Also I would think that most people would not eat their main meal in one sitting. And that you would probably take some home and eat it some other time. The fats, carbs, and calories are bad enough, but what really shocks me is the amount of sodium in these dishes.

Everyone loves to go out and eat, whether it's with your family or friends it’s always good time. But if you do it frequently you could really be holding yourself back from living a healthier lifestyle.


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    • markmic36 profile image

      Mick Smith 4 years ago from Warwick, RI

      Yeah I agree it is. I have dealt with this before I have gained 40 pounds just from eating out. Luckily now I have learned from my mistakes, and I am back on the right track. Thanks for the comment.

    • Audrey Baker profile image

      Audrey Baker 4 years ago from Arizona

      Kind of scary, isn't it? Like you mentioned, restaurants tend to give us more than we should eat at once, so it's wise to take some home for later.